Lilium is a new innovative startup company from Bavaria, Germany. It is founded by four students from the Technical University of Munich with the vision to make fast, clean air travel available to everyone. The startup is headquartered at the European Space Agency Business Incubator Centre in Bavaria. They recently stole the headlines when they tested their prototype of a futuristic flying car. It is the world’s first fully electric VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) jet. The two-seated prototype successfully flew and made history. This is the first time that a commercially feasible flying car prototype was revealed and demoed perfectly.
Here’s the video of their maiden flight that took place on 20th April, 2017.
The prototype aircraft can take-off vertically and does not require a runway. Once it is at a safe height, the electric motors producing the thrust tilt at an angle making the aircraft transition into forward moving flight. The company plans to eventually release a five-seater version of the aircraft for public transportation. The final version of the aircraft will produce a 435-horsepower using 36 electric engines. The aircraft will be completely electric powered with a battery rated at 320 KW and a range of 300 Km. The aircraft will be able to attain a top speed of 300 Km/hr. For safety, the aircraft will still be able to perform VTOL operations even after four engine failures. All the amazing features make Lilium is a dream come true for all the geeks who’ve been waiting for flying cars.
Lilium is backed by Atomico, the leading global venture capital firm based in London. The company received a €10m investment as its Series A funding round. The founding team is the reason for such a large investment round of the startup.
VTOL technology is nothing new and has been around since 1950s. Some notable examples include the Harrier Jump Jet (1967) and the Boeing Bell-22 Osprey (1989). However, this is the first time that the VTOL technology is being used for such a compact design. One reason this was not previously possible is that VTOL aircraft are very complicated and have high maintenance cost. Lilium solved this problem by introducing a much simpler design of the placement of the electric engines. The current prototype showed an array of electric engines housed in the wing of the aircraft. The jet requires no gearboxes, variable pitch propellers, water cooling or steering flaps. This unique and simple approach is what allows Lilium to achieve flight in such a compact design.
“Our goal is to develop an aircraft for use in everyday life,” explains Daniel Wiegand, CEO and one of the company’s four founders.
Furthermore Lilium’s jet comes under the category of light sports aircraft; which only requires a 20 hours of flight training. So, get ready to see a lot of people using these amazing jets in the future for transportation. The company is planning its first manned experimental flight in 2017 and rollout of the completed vehicle for licensing by 2018, ready for initial production to begin meeting orders. Serial production will follow later. So start saving money to buy this futuristic technology in 2018.